Do You Know How To Create A

Professional Image?

By following the Personal Branding Center’s formula for dressing successfully for any business situation.


Is your image increasing your success potential, or is it a distinct liability in helping you reach your career aspirations? 

“Excuse me. I have this conference room reserved for 9:00 AM.”  The man sitting in the room looked at me quizzically, laughed, and said, “Sue, I think I’m part of your meeting. Didn’t you invite me to be here? I was stunned. The man I had known for more than a decade had been transformed beyond my recognition!”

Susan L. Baumgartel
Susan L. Baumgartel was our client who was Head of Global Sales & Marketing at Assurant Solutions. This was from the part of her Foreword in our book called, “Don’t Go to Work Naked!

Sue went on to say, “During my 10 plus years as a creator and director of a corporate in-house sales school, I have seen many such transformations, some more dramatic than others, but always with tremendous results. One might say that anyone can receive an image face-lift with a new set of clothes – the right colors, proper fit – but when the transformation comes from the inside and is manifested in renewed confidence, and a true brand image that represents your corporate environment, you have a winning program!

Applying the principles from the Personal Branding Center’s™ image programs are designed with the goal of growing people – NOT fixing them – but helping them create and refine their own brand image that will enrich you and your organization and lead to a return on investment that goes beyond dollars: trust is built, influence is stronger, deals are closed, people are promoted, confidence grows, and loyalty increases.”

When it comes down to it, your professional image impacts all these that Sue mentioned. And I must say, I couldn’t have said it better. Your image represents your brand. It’s how you package yourself. You have your unique coloring, body type, and personality, and all these combined create a professional image that is only reflective of you!

Sue is now happily retired! Thank you, Sue, for 10 great years of respect and value. We appreciate you!
Before I dive into the blog, let me first explain the difference between a professional image and a professional presence. These are oftentimes misunderstood, and it is not just semantics. There is a difference and it’s important for you to understand both as they are interrelated.

Your professional presence is how you show up. Your behavior, your dress, your body language, how you communicate, it’s everything that you care about. Think about it as your total package.

Your Professional Image is about how you look; your dress and personal grooming attributes. Your image constitutes 30% of reaching your success potential; however, at first glance, it’s everything! Your professional image should not only represent your position, your personal brand, your organization’s brand, as well as exceed your customer’s expectations, both internally and externally, but do so without losing your own sense of personal identity! This is the key!

Perception VS Reality!

When it comes to one's Professional Image three popular statements that come to mind. These statements need to be clearly understood when developing a Professional Image. Here are the three statements and then we will look at each of these a little more in-depth.

1. You never get a a second chance to make a first impression.

2. You cannot judge a book by its cover.

3. A wolf in sheep's clothing.


At the Personal Branding Center™, we have analyzed and worked with thousands of professionals on developing his or her professional image. What we have noticed through these years is that there are extreme image consultants/stylists that swing from one spectrum to the other.

On one side, some go strictly by science. If you “have” this, then you are “this”. For example, if you belong to “this” color palette, then you can only wear “these” colors from that palette. God forbid you to wear black when it’s not in your palette.

Then you have the other extreme. It doesn’t matter what the “rules” are, break them all. It’s all about art and nonconformity. I often refer to this group as a stylist. Not all, but most, go with what’s in fashion. So, my response is, if it’s in fashion and it doesn’t look good on should you still wear it? To that, I say, no!

I am not insinuating that you should not incorporate fashion into your wardrobe, you should. It’s just how you do it. Let yourself dictate the look, not fashion; however, if you are wearing outdated things and out of fashion, then your personal brand will be perceived as outdated as well, so select wisely.

The key to building your professional image is to create a balance between the two. The science approach provides you the direction in where to begin building your image. The art aspect teaches you ways to bend the rules so to speak to create an image that is perfect just for you and only you.


Personal Branding Wheel

To make this an easy process, we created the “Science + Art = Style Wheel™”. It is important to know that these elements that make up this equation can be broken down into both a science and an art. Lets look at each aspect of this formula and how you can apply it to yourself. You will begin to see that by combining each aspect from both perspectives (science and art), you will be able to make conscious, intelligent choices when it comes to building your wardrobe and being dressed appropriately at all times.

PLEASE NOTE: We are not suggesting wearing anything you want, whenever you want; this is not realistic; however, what we are suggesting is to take an inclusive approach to build your professional image that is representative of your personal brand.

What To Wear To Work!

To answer this question, you need to know that your Professional Image is built around 5-Primary Image Disciplines:

1. Color

2. Style

3. Body

4. Face

5. Design



The first aspect refers to your Personal Coloring. Color is the foundation for building any wardrobe and should not be taken lightly. Depending upon your personal coloring, specific colors can help you look fresh, component, and powerful, while other colors can make you look tired and washed out. 

To make this easy for you, the Personal Branding Center™ created the 4-Elemental Color Palettes©: Fire, Air, Earth, and Water. These four palettes help determine which “colors” best harmonize with your skin, hair, and eye colors, therefore, making it easier to determine which colors are best for your clothing, hair, makeup, and accessories. If you follow the “Color Concept” for each palette, then you will enhance your professional image tremendously!

These palettes were created as a new generation of color analysis, which was made most popular by Carole Jackson, who created the Color Me Beautiful system, where she categorized your coloring as a Spring, Summer, Winter, or Autumn. Working with Carole and her team earlier in my career, and as their national trainer, I learned a great deal. I am where I am today because of Carole’s creations. Thank you, Carole!

As I moved into corporate America with this newfound journey, I began to see how adjustments needed to be made to make the information more marketable for men as well. Male CEOs didn’t like being called a “Spring”, so I adjusted the names to universal elements. That is how it became Fire, Air, Earth, and Water. You can click here to learn more about the 4-Season system by Color Me Beautiful.

We also added new colors and changed names to accommodate the current market. In addition, we created the Numerical Charting System™ so that professionals could learn how to make the most of their budget wardrobe dollars. In short, our system reduces your shopping time by 50% and your mistakes by 100%.

These palettes are designed by a scientific approach; however, how you apply them is as much about science as it is art!

Suffice to say, it’s great to know that you fit into one of these categories. It provides you direction on where to begin making conscious color choices for your wardrobe, accessories, makeup, and hair; however, there is the aspect of personal taste.

Color Concepts





The Fire palette consists of warm, light, clear colors. This does not mean that it does not have dark colors, but even those colors have a lightness to them. A Fire’s coloring is typically clear and transparent, like that of a flame.

Their personality is often bubbly and outgoing, the life of the party. They have a sparkle in their eye. The more “golden” Fire will wear warmer colors better, such as salmon, gold, and peach. A less “golden” Fire will wear the “cooler” colors of the palette, such as aqua, periwinkle, and coral.





The Earth palette is unique, as it consists of warm, dark, muted colors. There are some Earths that can wear brighter colors, like the Fall time of year when the leaves begin to change. Think of pumpkins, reds, and bright yellows. As these colors begin to tone down, they become richer; eventually becoming muted. There are some Earths that look best in the muted colors of the palette. And some look great in both the bright and muted colors.

They are grounded and sensible in their personality. Many Earths enjoy outdoor activities such as biking, hiking, or gardening, and typically like casual clothing that’s textured and comfortable.
AIR 2022 NET




The AIR palette consists of cool, lighted, muted tones. Their colors are “heathered” in nature, as the AIR’s personal coloring is as well. This soft contrast between the skin, hair, and eyes is typically accompanied by a soft, amiable personality. Mostly they are quiet and aesthetic by nature.

Air people gray softly and slowly. They tend to become more attractive as they get older. Their “colors” can get “too” bright for the total look because it can be overwhelming of their inner essence.

The personality of this palette is that they are approachable and have a very aesthetic nature about them. Sophistication often comes to mind.





This Water palette is made of cool, dark, clear colors and is typically best worn in sharp contrast. There is typically a hi-contrast between the skin, hair, and eyes, which is why the colors from this palette work so well when worn. They should avoid earth tones around the face completely. Particularly the “olive” complexion.

Be careful not to mistake this complexion type as warm, because it has a blue (cool) undertone as all Waters do. It’s called olive because the skin has a green cast. Although technically, olive is a warm-green color. An olive complexion sounds better than a green complexion.

The personality of this palette is aloof. Not rude, but they appear to “process information” as they listen. Typically, this person looks best in solids. May wear some stripes but not a lot of patterns.

Rest of Blog To Be Release November 11, 2021.

About the Author

Parker Geiger has over 25 years in the Personal Branding Arena. He created the Personal Branding Center to

“inspire to empower”

professionals to build an authentic, personal brand that others want to see, hear, and value! From serving clients from ESPN, CNN, Delta, and GM to mention a few, his passion has inspired him and his team of experts to create programs where thousands of professionals have become self-empowered!

Leading Edge Branding